Check out Smile & Wave today for a little Valentine’s story about Biggest Brother

Since there was so much interest after last week’s post on my family albums, I thought I’d do a follow up with the actual albums this week.Ā  They just arrived and I am so happy. I do want to say I am in no way ‘sponsored’ by MyPublisher, nor are they paying me or giving me free books to post about their product. I am just sharing what I do.

There are so many album companies out there. I am sure there are many that are of better quality than MyPublisher. In fact, the album companies I used for my wedding clients are an example of a MUCH better product. So…if I know there are better ones out there why do I choose MyPublisher for my personal pictures?

1. I ended up ordering 2 100 page albums….this means COST is very important. Since I know I can always get a 50% off or a Buy One Get One Free coupon with MyPublisher – that is a winning point for me.

2. I am very pleased with the quality. Yes, there are other album companies I like, but for the price I am able to pay MyPublisher makes me very happy.

3. I don’t have time to write in my books or custom design every page. If I attempted that I would never get any done. So, I like that I can just drag & drop and they have a ‘pictures only’ template available.

So all that to say I need a fast, easy, affordable album company that has quailty I desire – MyPublisher fits that. In a world where money was not an issue, I’d pay an album designer to custom design my books with top of the line photographic paper….

So…here’s some peeks at my books. I do the standard 8x5x11 size, book jacket books.

2.10mypub-1

I order two copies because it is very important to me to have a copy sitting out in the living room that the kids feel the freedom to look at without being worried if they accidently hurt the book that mommy will be upset. I want friends to thumb through the books too, but really they are for my kids. The kids put up with my camera in their face EVERYDAY, so I feel like if they want to enjoy the albums they should be able to. If I didn’t have a second copy tucked away I would be on edge and grumpy everytime little boy hands grabbed the books.2.10mypub-22.10mypub-3

2007 & 2008 albums do not have any tears, smudges – “yes”, tears – “no”. The boys had only made it through about 10 pages before 2009 got a tear.

Oh well.2.10mypub-52.10mypub-6

“Oops” is worth it. They have so much fun looking back at the previous year. Big Brother ‘read’ the albums to Littlest Brother.2.10mypub-72.10mypub-82.10mypub-10

The picture they are looking at is of Biggest Brother completely naked throwing dirt on me. Yep. We got into a dirt fight last year while digging up the garden area. I put dirt down the back of his pants. He ran to the front of the house (pouting I thought). Then came running back around towards me totally naked with the biggest smile I have ever seen. I was so shocked I didn’t even defend myself when he piled dirt on me. We do have neighbors. We don’t have a fence.

It is still one of his personal proudest moments…2.10mypub-112.10mypub-12

Big Brother especially likes to do funny things to his own pictures. For instance, making himself eat the plastic looks-like-a-cow-but-it-is-really-a-jaguar-missing-all-the-paint animal. Goofball.2.10mypub-14

Thanks for all the emails for referrals on my last post,

Here’s another Buy One Get One Free coupon for those of you still thinking you might want to try it out:

coupon

If you’ve made it this far on this post, here’s a heads up: Next Week is going to be FUN, FUN, FUN at this blog!

UPDATED: Yes, I know my long time blog readers are probably shocked not to see a LOST post today. I am in mourning…mourning the final season…mourningĀ  I won’t be home to see it tonight (we live in the stoneage…no dvr or whatever those things are called). Guess I’ll be watching it online tomorrow…don’t spoil the premier for me!

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  • Rachel Ridd - I really need to do this. Thanks for the suggestion. I take so many pictures and just leave them on my hard drive – such a waste!

  • Jo - Thanks Ashley for the coupon! I might have to try this out!

  • Christy - Such a great book, I am starting to work on mine. Thanks!

  • Alba - Last year my computer burned itself, authomatic combustion, and I lost all my pictures. Thanks God my mother has a copy on her pc. I should learn from it, and make albums like yours. I have to do it.

  • Lesley - Love it! I can’t wait to sit and go through your book. I love the last pic, too funny. I must say, though, a little surprised not to see a LOST post today!

  • Lauren Roberts - I’m excited to see your book too. I’m with Lesley though….No LOST post?

  • christina larsen - Neat idea. This totally beats scrapbooking in my opinion. I sure don’t have time to do it, and feel guilty that I don’t. I might have to give that a shot.

  • Kelly - Oh those are so pretty. I stopped printing pictures and putting them in albums a couple years ago (odd that my youngest is 2, hmm…) so this may be the perfect alternative. I love that you have the back-up in a firesafe. I’m ridiculously paranoid about stuff like that. I won’t even tell you how many times our digital copies are backed up. :)

  • annalea - thanks for the tips! i need to get better at organizing my photos.

  • Our 2009 Family Album « Tatum Family - [...] I read onĀ one of my favoriteĀ blogs about a special deal through MyPublisher, I knew I had to make a photobook to house our favorite [...]

  • John - Hi there!! Those photo books look awesome. Can I ask which, of the mypublisher products (deluxe,classic etc) you bought and/or if you bought a few different types??
    cheers – John

  • skateboard and dinosaur » julieranee.com - [...] about Ashley’s experience with them. Ā I completely agree with what she writes about them here. Ā Love her blog Under the [...]

Pictures like these (now I want a bed in our back field to play on all spring, summer & fall) and these (you HAVE to watch the slideshow…AMAZING) make having a house full of girls seem like so much fun. And I know if I did have a house of girls I would love it, but instead I have a house full of boys (and one baby girl that is obsessed with trying to get her brother’s Legos). It is a LOUD, active adventure around here all the time.

“Mommy, pretend like you are sleeping in the Legos and a Lego Spaceship landed on your head and let me take a picture.” -Big Brother, 3 yrs.

boys-2

1.10boys-01

1.10boys-02

boys-31.10boys-031.10boys-041.10boys-051.10boys-061.10boys-071.10boys-081.10boys-111.10boys-121.10boys-13

As a mom of 3 boys I know there is not near the amount of fun stuff out there regarding boys as there is for girls. I was excited to hear that Dana of Made and Made by Rae are teaming up for the entire month of February to celebrate boys. I can’t wait to see what they come up with…look what I read on Dana’s blog:

To “moms of boys” out there, we’ve heard your woes! There just isn’t enough info shared amongst us about BOYS. There aren’t enough clothing ideas, enough tutorials, enough fresh ideas. Well ladies (and little gents), we’re going to stock your Tonka Trucks full of info!

Throughout the month you’ll find:
* TONS of Boy tutorials
* Boy clothing ideas
* TWELVE guest bloggers! (this part REALLY excites me)
* Boy crafts
* Boy bags
* Baby Boy stuff
* Boy giveaways
* Boy design tips

Made (by Dana)

BOY+Button+Red

Made by RaeBOY+Button+Yellow

POST UPDATE: The clock in the boy’s room doesn’t work. I need to replace the mechanical part…it was around 3pm, not 8:23am! Also, I am not one of the guest bloggers for The Boy.

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  • Alba - YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks, thanks, thanks. I’m already looking forward it!

  • Courtney Connelly - Love this post! Thanks for the link to Dana’s blog, I will be checking it out this month!

  • Amanda - Hooray! I too live in the wonderful world of boys and can’t wait to see your posts!

    “A life with boys is full of joy!”

    Amanda
    Queen Bee Designs by Amanda
    queenbeedesignsbyamanda.blogspot.com

  • Jill R - Awesome! Can’t wait!

  • Jo - At 8:23AM they are this crazy? :) That’s what makes boys huh? I always love your photos, they are awesome!!!!!

  • amanda torres - I love, love, love the look on Big Bro’s face in the last picture. It’s like, “I FINALLY got you!” So funny.

  • Lauren Roberts - I love, love, LOVEd the Kristen and Kayla slideshow. Thanks you for sharing that.

  • bopha - it’s about time someone stood up for all the little boys around-they have the right to be cute too!

  • Evie - I stumbled upon your blog a couple weeks ago and I am so in love with all you beautiful photos! Your family is lovely too! Coming from a houseful of GIRLS(4 girls, 1 brother), I totally wanted to have boys when I “grow up”… :D You make it look like so much fun!

    I wish you were in SC and still booking! I’m getting married in a couple months! Oh well! :D

  • Shannon Arnold - I have 3 boys. Your photos make me want to keep my camera handier. I related to your post so much. Love having boys!

  • robyn - love it! these picutres make my heart gush… and makes me want to embrace my two boys today… they make me crazy! but they are great :)

  • Katie H. - Bring on the BOYS!! Also, glad to see that the adjustable waistband jeans pulled as tight as they will go runs in other families other than mine!! My boys can’t seem to ever fill out their pants.

  • the inadvertent farmer - As a mom of four boys I am so excited…and when I first read about it you were the first person who came to mind when I thought of the guest bloggers I would want to here from so…yeahhhh! Kim

  • ashlee - your boys are precious!! I cant wait to see what boy stuff they share…its so hard to find:)

  • jeny - where did you get the bunkbed. i’m looking for one just like that. not to mention … your boyz are beautiful. and i completely agree that there is not a hushed moment in the house (and that’s okay) there is always something going on.

  • Kelly - Yea for boys! I have three too and love every minute of it! Coming from a house of all girls, it’s a totally different world. Although I think I understand my dad a little better now :) Thanks for sharing this exciting news about boy stuff! Should be FUN!

  • annie - As a mother of two boys – I am really looking forward to this -

  • Kelly - SO glad the clock is broken! You were getting TONS of sympathy from me :-) LOVE LOVE LOVE the boys’ room. So excited to follow Dana’s blog, thanks for sharing!

  • katie - Ashley! What a great post! I LOVE the pics! I really want to know where you got the boys’ bedding! I love the black and orange circle print! And also as a mother of 2 boys, I’m looking forward to the new boy ideas to come in the blog!!

  • Tess S. - ecstatic! i can’t wait for the month of february and all of it’s boy filled goodies.
    i bought the pattern for the rollie pollie- i’m excited to start that project.
    and i love the air-plane print in the boy’s room! it’s the theme for my little guy’s room.
    shirtless boys in jeans. i was the youngest girl, with 3 older brothers. those pictures are basically my memories of them. love it.

  • gisele - Just wanted to let you know i really enjoy your blog and gorgeous pictures! Have you seen this on etsy?
    http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=39642168

  • Anna Joy - I’m excited for the month of celebration of boys! I can’t wait to make stuff for my little man!!!

  • Ashley - I have 4 boys (and a baby girl), and these pictures remind me of what goes down at my house everyday! Even the way their jeans are on with the underwear sticking out of the top and the adjustable waist elastic hanging out makes me think of mine. Boys are AWESOME! (Baby girl is nice, too:)

  • meg duerksen - i have a few of both….and i like them both. boys are way louder….as if you didn’t know. :)

  • Jesse - Oh good! I thought only my rowdy bunch, including 1 girl stood in the window sill! Makes me feel better!

  • Kristin Eldridge - I TOTALLY agree that there’s so much more ideas and things for girls than boys. TOtally excited about this.

    Would you mind posting more pics of your boys room? It looks so cute!

  • erin conrad - your blog makes me happy :)

  • julie - Let’s trade kiddos for a weekend…
    I always thought I would have boys. Lots of boys. Not lots of pink and glitter. But now I wouldn’t even know what to do with a boy!!! Crazy. I love to see the happiness that exudes from your home.
    Love.

  • The Junkin Chick (Sherri) - I have 3 boys and I know how much of a joy they are. I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world!! Well, maybe for a weekend at the spa!

  • Elizabeth - Yay for boys! As a Mom of 5 boys, I know there is such a brotherly bond. You can tell your boys love to be with each other!

  • Alison - I love how you capture your sweet boys…need to do more of the same with mine. What are the wooden blocks with the legos in top picture?

In regards to your questions from last week’s questions…I know there are still some left to be answered. I’ll finish answering those next week!

Here are a few answers to yesterday’s post: I tried Snapfish & Shutterfly, but was not pleased with the quality. I have considered using a Blurb book – I like the feature of it being able to be larger than 100 pages. Ultimately I went with MyPublisher because of price. The Blurb and MyPublisher books seemed about equal in price until you factor in 50% off or a Buy One Get One Free coupon (which is a big deal when you are ordering around 400 pages total). I always wait to order my albums until I have one of those coupons. They email me one each year around this time. MyPublisher works like Blurb in that you can pull in all the pictures off your computer, but just use the ones you want. I go through and select my pics because I want to tweak the post processing on them before I pull them into the MyPublisher program. I pick the pictures I want based on what I like and what I don’t want to forget. I probably only end up using 25-50% of the pictures I take. (I’d like to use them all, but my wallet would not like that). MyPublisher does allow for different themes…including text. I choose not to add text because I like the ‘pictures only’ look and I would never get the books done if I added text! We keep journals for the kids.

Here is a link to what I do in regards to saving and backing up my pictures.

I went to the store and can you believe for $5.00 I found the PERFECT fabric?!

Perfect for two new pillows that is.1.10pillow-03

The ability to remove pillow covers is VERY important in my house. Messes happen. Messes happen a lot!

I kept the skirt slit on the houndstooth one and added a vintage button…to allow me to remove the pillow cover.

On the white one I added a flap with vintage trim…to allow me to remove the pillow cover. I like mine better than this $39.00 one.1.10pillow-05

For those wondering why I didn’t do a tutorial on this…I don’t really know how to sew. I make things up as I go and I usually make a lot of mistakes in the process. I should have done a tutorial on what not to do. For instance, when adding a flap to fold over make sure before you sew it that the flap is on the outside not the inside. Otherwise you have to remove a lot of tiny stitches and that is not fun.1.10pillow-06

Since I didn’t do a tutorial, I did think I’d share a few outtakes from my pillow making process. Looking at the chaos surrounding my projects it makes it seem worth it just to buy stuff sometimes!1.10pillow-10

I know this is blurry. She was jumping so fast I couldn’t get any of her in focus. She likes to jump.1.10pillow-111.10pillow-12

And even now as I try to write this post I have a little one trying to crawl off my bed. I’m tired…1.10pillow-14

And for my Friday etsy finds….in honor of Valentine’s Day

valentinesEtsy

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  • annie - okay so first i was afraid, because it just didn’t seem to work (the outfit that is), but then i saw the darling pillows – they’re perfect! they look great with the moulded rocker. your crafting looks like mine, lots of (ahem) helpers! love the etsy pics – esp the live what you love – might need to check that one out! happy friday!

  • Jo - Ashley,

    I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU SAY YOU CAN’T SEW AND IT LOOKS PERFECT!!!! I got a sewing machine for Christmas (2009) and i’ve made curtains and pillows and i’m not really satisfied with how i do it. =\ GR! I love the sweater pillow… WOW! Much cuter than the PB one. SERIOUSLY! You did a fantastic job. Like I have said before I really enjoy your blog… it’s very bright, colorful and full of fun kiddos! Always something new!

  • tiny twig - dude, do you EVER sleep?! i am sooooo impressed with you “go-ness”. i feel like with 2 boys ages 3yr and 1yr i’m running around like crazy with them and even getting something creative done every once in awhile is a feat in itself. how do you keep the boys from destroying your house? mine seem completely bent on doing that. :)

  • karen brown - I use my MyPublisher too and it is awesome! Just do a google search for “mypublisher+coupon codes” and I can pretty much always find some sort of coupon. Also, if you are a Costco member, you can login to costco.com and then hit the photo button and you get an automatic 20% off at checkout.

    I am so jealous you are done! I promised some for the g’parents as Christmas gifts and they are still in the works!

  • Christy - Lovin those pillows! The ruffle is so pretty

  • Sara - I love MyPublisher! Just finished my two books. Yes, this year took two albums worth, like 700 pictures. I dislike that after about 60some pages, the program freezes/slows way down. I talked to tech support and they said that the albums will hold 99 pages, but the slowing down was something they have regular complaints about. Thus, my needing two albums with 40 and 60 pages respectively.

    Love the pillows!!! Adorable. The outfit was perfect foil to a segue to the pillows. :D

  • Shannon Phillips - I just almost peed myself laughing so hard at your awesome outfit. I love you girl. Thanks so much for making me smile. You have encouraged me to work on my new pillow covers. Ours too get stained much quicker than I get sick of them and want new ones. (That is very very fast.) ;)

  • candace - I like your version better too! That whop-doodle ruffle is fun. Have you ever used Picaboo albums or just MyPublisher?

  • Emily - I love the pillows! I was recently given some not so cute pillows I had no clue what to do with…I can totally cover them! Thanks for the idea!

  • Anna Joy - those pillows are beautiful! so creative! good find on the cheapie clothes for them!

  • Allison - Love the pillows. By the way, what external hard drive do you have? I have a mac and looked at the apple time machine but it had bad reviews so I feared gettting it. Thanks again!

  • ashlee - you scared me with the outfit:) i love that sweater pillow!! my daughter has a pink cableknit she refuses to wear to it is destined for a pillow!

  • Lauren Roberts - I myself was thinkin “Oh my, she is finally looking way older than she is in that outfit!” Which is really hard for you to do. I like the pillows!

  • Shannon - Ok, this is off subject, but where did you have that big pic over your mantle done, and can we see the full thing. It looks amazing (each of your shoes??) and I just need to see the whole thing!

  • Anna Joy - not old…older-er. :)
    your comment on my blog made my day because, well, you’re my MOM ICON (besides from my own mother, of course). Yay for me. Have a good day and stay warm :)

  • jill tracy - Wowsers–those are too cute. Love them both! Yours is way cooler than than the PB one–seriously!

  • Jodi - Adorable. I love your style!!!

  • Meagan - Haha, you’re so funny! I was thinking, hmmm…that outfit…not loving it… The pillows rock! I agree, you’re way too modest about your sewing skills.

  • Heather - Those pillows ARE so perfect! And what a fun Etsy list this week. I’ve already found 3 thinks I want to make mine!! Have a happy weekend :)

  • amanda torres - I now know why you have 4 kids. With an outfit like that, how can your husband resist all that sexiness!

  • Serena Lowe - I must admit when I saw the outfit….I though this girl needs some help…..then when I saw the pillows, I was relieved!! They are beautiful! I so need to learn to sew!!

  • christina larsen - Love the pillows. I never would have thought to make pillows out of clothing. Maybe I should start shopping in my closet for new pillow fabric. :)

  • Marianne Strong - Love the pillows, too funny, I was not sure where it was going. Your photography is gorgeous!

  • Dick - You don’t look 17 in that outfit. We sure enjoy reading your blog each day

  • Tiffany - I absolutely ADORE all your projects and creativity…your blog has become my number one go to for project inspiration!!

  • Jesse - I love those Mr. & Mrs. pillows! And can totally relate to your crafting conditions.

  • Megan - You are so inspiring! The pillows are darling!!! I am really into re purposing things in 2010:) and I noticed that someone used plastic shopping bags to stuff their handmade pillows with. I am dying to make a pillow filled with plastic bags, so maybe I will grab an old sweater and go for it:)

  • Alba - thanks God the outfit is for pillows! for a moment I thougt you were serious, jejeje. Really nice pillows, anyway. I like your non-sew skills ;-)

  • reyanna - Looks awesome! Way to go! And that Pottery Barn pillow is $39 for the cover ONLY! That doesn’t even include the pillow! LOL. Yours are fabulous! You inspire me so much.

    Thank you! :)